The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
James McDonald continued his winning ways at Randwick on Saturday claiming the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) aboard short-priced favourite Funstar.
The three-year-old filly lapped up the soft ground in her third-up a fortnight after winning the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) on the same track. Punters came in droves for Chris Waller’s talented miler paving the way for an exciting two-horse race between Funstar and the Jamie Richards-trained Probabeel.
It was a soft run for the favourite after getting away quickly from the gates. As expected, McDonald chose to dictate the pace from the front along the rails as the pair found a strong rhythm early on.
Kerrin McEvoy went early aboard Probabeel three-wide as the pair rounded the turn. The filly be Savabeel looked a chance down the straight, right before Funstar found something extra to race away over the final furlong under hands.
The win capped off an impressive start to the day for Waller and McDonald as the pair claimed a win in the previous two races with Global Quest and Dealmaker.
Eighteen of the past 21 Flight Stakes winners have now come through the Tea Rose, while it was also a special moment for both Waller and McDonald as the pair each claimed their first Flight Stakes win.
“She is a talent. We’ve known what we’ve had and we’ve just carefully placed her. We learnt off previous horses we’ve had in the stable. Pushing on from a winter preparation. She so deserved this win today for the owners,” Waller said after the race.
The win marked Funstar’s fourth from five career starts, leaving plenty of questions as to what the future holds. The talented galloper holds a nomination in next weekend’s Thousand Guineas (1600m), but Waller wouldn’t say whether Funstar would back up in seven days’ time.
“We were in the same position with a similar horse a few years ago. She ended up being a very good horse for the stable,” Waller went on to say.
“Think it would be hard to break my belief, looking after them and respecting her age. She has been basically in since June but I’ll have a talk to the owners. She could go to the Spring Champion or the Thousand Guineas. We look after the horse and they will look after you. If I have my way we will see her in the Autumn.”
Probabeel did well to hold on for second after running out of steam late. The Kiwi also holds a nomination in the Guineas as well as a spot in next months Group 1 Kennedy Oaks on November 7 at Flemington.
Funstar is the current $4.00 second-elect in the All-In 2019 Thousand Guineas odds, while Probabeel can be had for $11.00.
2019 Flight Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||FUNSTAR||Chris Waller||James McDonald||–||2||56kg||$1.75F|
|2||2||PROBABEEL (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Kerrin McEvoy||3.3L||6||56kg||$2.40|
|3||5||FOXBOROUGH||John Sargent||Jay Ford||6.8L||1||56kg||$31|
|4||4||ST COVET’S SPIRIT||Jason Coyle||Jason Collett||7L||3||56kg||$26|
|5||6||OUR GIRL SNITI||Ron Quinton||Andrew Adkins||10.3L||5||56kg||$51|
|6||3||GIRLS ARE READY||Joe Cleary||Ms Jess Taylor||11.6L||4||56kg||$31|
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